The headline read: “Briles faces his usual fall job – silencing critics of BU football.” CRITICS?? After two back-to-back 11-2 seasons and two back-to-back Big 12 titles? After rebuilding the Baylor Bears’ football program to an elite national level where they spent all but two weeks last season ranked among the top 10 teams in the nation? After building the Baylor Bears’ program back to a football powerhouse that includes a new stadium and a packed one at that, with sell-out crowds for every home game? After producing a program that last year led the nation in offense, averaging 581.5 yards and nearly 50 points per game?
According to Michael Hyatt, “If you are a leader, you are going to attract critics. It is inevitable. In fact, if you aren’t attracting critics, you should be wondering why. Criticism is normal. Why? Because real leaders upset the status quo and make people uncomfortable. As Finley Peter Dunne once said about journalists, ‘Our job is to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.’ The same is true of leaders. Unfortunately, this almost always meets with resistance.”1 Robin Sharma agrees. He said, “Criticism is the defense reaction that scared people use to protect themselves against change.”
You’ve probably heard it said, “People are usually down on what they’re not up on.” If it wasn’t their idea, if no one asked their opinion, if it means they’d have to leave their comfort zone, if it requires some kind of sacrifice or price, you can usually count on criticism of some kind. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re a football coach, school teacher, city leader or even a minister.
Chuck Swindoll said, “People in ministry are like lightning rods. Every pastor, every Christian leader, every Christian musician, every Christian author I know can tell his or her own stories of times they’ve been verbally assaulted. I have found the more effective the ministry, the larger the number of critics. Without a tough hide, you’re an emotional wreck.
In his book, A Burden Shared: Encouragement for those who lead, David Roper shared four truths about criticism:
1. Criticism always comes when we least need it.
2. Criticism seems to come when we least deserve it.
3. Criticism comes from people who are least qualified to give it.
4. Criticism frequently comes in a form that is least helpful to us.
The bottom line? Criticism is coming. If you’re doing anything worthwhile, anything of worth even for a while, or giving something or some cause everything you’re worth, you’re going to get some criticism.
So what do you do? A.W. Tozer said, “Never be afraid of honest criticism. If the critic is wrong, you can help him; and if you’re wrong, he can help you. Either way, somebody’s helped.”
I wouldn’t bet against Art Briles and the Baylor Bears. And those tempted to criticize them might want to rethink their strategy. Criticism isn’t going to startle a bear or stop him.
It may just fire him up and the result might be unBEARable!
© 2015. Barry L. Cameron
1 Michael Hyatt. (2009, November 6). Friends, Critics, and Trolls. Retrieved July 22, 2015, from http://michaelhyatt.com/friends-critics-and-trolls.html
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.